It’s that time of the year again…
The lazy days of summer are almost over, and it’s time to start thinking about school.
A busy time for homeschooling and non-homeschooling moms alike, the end of summer madness can sometimes bring on a serious headache. Fortunately, the following are practical back-to-school tips to help you start the school year off right.
BRING BACK ROUTINES
Take a few days and ease your child back into a good sleep routine. Chances are, you were more flexible with bed time during the summer. And, that’s great! Summer is meant to be full of long, fun-filled days that never seems to end.
But, now that school is back in session, one of the best back-to-school tips is to gradually adjust your child’s sleep schedule. Start by sending your child to bed fifteen minutes earlier each night. Continue until you have reached an appropriate bed time.
Also, begin establishing a good morning routine. Make sure your child understands their responsibilities, in order to allow for a smoother morning.
Finally, if you don’t do so already, now is a good time to start thinking about age-appropriate chores. Get your child into the routine of pitching in around the house. Chores instill discipline and expectations, while helping to lighten your own load. A win-win!
PREPARE YOUR KIDS
Start talking to your child about the upcoming school year. Answer questions and ease any fears they may have.
Encourage excitement for school and give them a synopsis of what they will be learning. Highlight any major milestones, such as learning to read. If you homeschool, discuss some of the awesome adventures you plan to have together.
Also, lay out social expectations for your child when they are around other children. Talk about sharing, taking turns and avoiding hurt feelings. Encourage positive ways to express emotions, especially when they are frustrated and angry.
Finally, remind them to never give up and persevere when the going gets tough. Not everything will come easily, and there may be times your child struggles to learn new concepts and ideas.
KEEP LUNCH SIMPLE
As much as we all want to create perfectly balanced and gourmet meals for our children, that is not reality…
Stick to meals that are easy to prepare and pack a nutritious punch. Make sure to have plenty of prepped fruit and veggies on hand to make snack time easier. Finally, when packing a lunch for your child, one of the best back-to-school tips is to do it the night before. It takes just a few minutes and eliminates morning chaos.
GET RID OF THE CLUTTER
Do a bit of organizing and bring a breath of fresh air to your home.
Sort through last year’s crafts and projects with your child, picking out your favorites. Consider starting a project scrapbook or portfolio to store their masterpieces.
Go through old toys, throwing away those that are broken and donating the ones your child no longer uses. A great tip is to sort your child’s toys into several bins. Rotate the bins every so often, and your child will feel like it’s their birthday. This also sparks renewed creativity and reduces the overwhelm of having too many toys.
SORT THROUGH YOUR KID’S WARDROBE
On the same note, it’s probably time to go through your child’s wardrobe. Chances are they grew a ton during the summer!
First, pack away warm weather clothing that can be recycled for next year. Include any hand-me-downs that can be saved for younger children. Finally, consider selling or donating clothing you no longer need.
Make a list of the items you need to purchase for child and stick to it. Since children go through clothing so quickly, I am a huge fan of purchasing up-cycled clothing. This time of year, there are usually tons of consignment sales going on. Check them out first!
Ah, back to school shopping. Store aisles filled with haphazard mamas struggling to find everything on their list.
If possible, one of the best back-to-school tips is to go alone. This will make the process faster and much less painful. It will be easier to stick to the essentials if you don’t have children begging in the background.
Also, now is a great time to stock up on other household essentials such as, paper goods, pantry items, toiletry supplies, vitamins, medicine, and socks (I don’t know about you, but ours are always disappearing!).
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SALES
Tech has become super important in our day and age. If you are in need of a new computer or tablet, now is the time to buy. Check out back-to-school sales, as well as any Labor Day sales that are right around the corner.
PLAN FOR EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
What extra curricular activities will your child participate in during the year? For homeschoolers, this may even include joining a co-op.
Other fantastic extracurriculars include: organized sports, dance, swimming, gymnastics, martial arts, cooking classes, music and other educational activities.
Extracurricular activities can get very expensive, especially if you have multiple children. Great ways to save include trying an activity (just a few sessions) before committing long-term, taking advantage of schools and park districts (which are usually way cheaper!) and not overdoing it.
While socializing with other children is great, stick to one or two activities, avoiding over-scheduling your child and allowing for plenty of free time.
SET GOALS FOR THE YEAR
What does your child hope to accomplish this school year? Having goals is an important step to achieving any level of success. Also, setting goals creates discipline and accountability, both important things for a child to learn.
Spend a few minutes talking to your child and create a list of goals. Place your child’s list of goals somewhere that is visible. If your child is not yet reading, remind them every so often of the goals they set.
PRIORITIZE FAMILY TIME
The school year is usually busy and jam-packed with activities. It’s important to prioritize family time by taking advantage of weekends and free time, in order to bond and reconnect as a family. This can be as simple as playing at the park.
DON’T SKIMP ON SELF CARE!
Don’t forget about you this school year. Yes, things are busy and it can definitely feel like a balancing act, but personal time is important to help rejuvenate you as a mom.
Make time in the chaos and spend a few minutes each day doing activities you enjoy. Read a book, take a bath or even go out and get a pedicure. Do whatever it takes to make you feel your best.
Hopefully, these back-school-tips have gotten rid of the headache and left you better prepared to face the school year head-on.